3D printing is so cool. And it is a technology that is beginning to pervade every realm of ‘made things’. I heard a while back about aircraft companies beginning to 3D print airplane components, there is 3D printing involved in the making of artificial organs, and obviously there is the extraordinary capability to prototype which the method provides.
And so it should not be such a leap to make jewelry that way as well. It is the process that leads up to the 3D printing however, which makes these jewelry pieces designed by Nervous System, so unique. The artists wrote their own program to create and manipulate the almost infinite number of cellular forms from which their pieces can be constructed. The rings and bracelets are very organic in their forms yet are algorithmically generated, and are based on a sort of cell devision similar to that which takes place in every living thing.
Two similar, yet slightly different printing process are used to realize these forms. One prints in nylon using a process known as SIS (Selective Laser Sintering) where a powder is laid down layer by layer and then fused with a laser. The other prints are done in stainless steel where again powder (this time bound with resin) is layed down and the whole thing is then fired to fuse it and infilled with bronze to smooth over the porous surfaces left by the printing process.
The artists have created a more user friendly version of their software which is available to clients (computer and iPad) so that they can design their own custom made pieces of jewelry. Now if only I wore rings…
By: Matt Davis